chapter  2
ByYongxian Luo
Pages 20

A key issue in Sino-Tibetan studies is the historical link between Chinese and Tai  whether or not they are genetically related. While there is no question about the status of Tai as a distinct language family (Li 1977), the nature of Sino-Tai relationship is still much debated. Opinions can be divided into three camps: (1) Sino-Tai (De Lacouperie, Maspero, Wulff, Li, Haudricourt, Shafer, Denlinger, Xing, Zhengzhang); (2) Austro-Tai (Schlegel, Benedict); 2 (3) Sino-Tibetan-Austronesian (Sagaart, Reid, Xing). The Sino-Tai hypothesis assumes the membership of Tai under Sino-Tibetan while the Austro-Tai theory argues for a genetic relationship between Tai and Austronesian. The Sino-Tibetan-Austronesian hypothesis proposes a larger phylum that includes Chinese, Tai-Kadai, Miao-Yao, and Austronesian. In addition, there are still others who believe in none of these ideas (Gedney 1976, Thurgood 1994).